Humility will come. It is up to me how I learn it. Will it take an allegorical Atomic Bomb or a sweet waft of a tranquil breath? Or, inconceivably, could godly humility not come until our knees bow before our Creator. The answer isn't IF it will come, but WHEN it will come.
Romans 14:11 proclaims, "For the Scriptures say, 'As surely as I live,' says the LORD, 'every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'"
I would really rather not experience an Atomic Bomb; I certainly don't want to wait until I die to humbly acknowledge God as Lord. And though I don't think we can understand full humility while we live in our fallen bodies, I would rather learn all I can while I have an opportunity to change my pride into humble service to the Lord.
I have had a few open doors lately that allow me to use some of my hobbies. So, I am praying that if God wants me to walk through them, that I will give Him the credit and glory and not be full of myself. God has also been talking to me about being more specific in my prayers, and since He has laid it on my heart, again, to want to desire deeper humility, I, with a bit of trepidation, prayed that God would help me be humble so I can better glorify Him.
Scary prayer, but I trust God to grow me the way He sees best. I have to admit, though, I did experience a bit of fear of God when I told Ben to pray for this for me as well, and his response was, "Are you sure you want me to pray that God would teach you humility? You may not like the lessons that come. Might be painful." Thanks, Husband...that gives me confidence :) I told him that it's too late to ask that question because I've already spoken to God about it...now I have to see, wait, and look for how He will answer.
God has a sense of humor as He teaches us. He has to. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had the experience that I did tonight.
A dear friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in being the photographer at a reception she helped organize for a committee she's on. I'm no pro by any means, but I do enjoy capturing lessons in the form of people, nature, God's creation. I'm slowly learning. While I made certain that she shouldn't have unreal expectations of my abilities, I told her "sure!" So off I went...
I suppose my first brain malfunction was not preparing myself for the atmosphere that I would be in. Remember, I'm a PE teacher...accustomed to being with precious, but sweaty (and loud with unbridled and somewhat unrefined emotion) children all day long. I like my sneakers; a lot. I like that I get to wear them; a lot. I like that I come home with my hair and clothes a mess most days. I'm kind of unrefined myself.
That being said, tonight I exchanged my sneakers for some stilettos, my messy PE shirt for a cocktail dress, and my comfy pants for a pair of stockings. hmmm
My second brain malfunction was somehow not preparing myself that I would be hobnobbing with quite significant, well-known county, state, and national leaders, even though my friend tried to inform me of this beforehand--I'll chalk that one up to getting back into the swing of our schedules after our Christmas break. I don't think my brain is/was fully engaged yet.
And remember, I'm still attempting to learn more adequate social skills :) . My natural tendency when in a setting with unfamiliar humanity is: "I'll take the corner of the room, please."
So, somewhat uncultivated, somewhat backwards me, walks into a room with a few hundred fairly famous people who are quite sophisticated. This is an introvert's worst nightmare--mingling with out-of-my-league strangers who are obviously just as comfortable in their stilettos as I am in my sneakers.
Then it happened...oh the horror. My friend gently asked me to take a picture of the featured speaker. With many eyes watching me, my beloved camera that nearly has my fingerprint embedded in the shutter release button from use, became a spaceship from Mars. I no longer knew how to work it. My brain had officially left my head. I kind of remembered who I was and that I was supposed to take a picture, but I certainly was not competent to work the black box that was hanging from my neck. I tried a few shots, failed; tried, failed; wanted to/attempted to vaporize, failed. Then the speaker's, quite smug, assistant walks over, whips out his cell phone, and pops off a few pics. And murmurs were heard, with some "light-hearted" chuckling (by everyone except for me who had already died an agonizingly slow death) discussing the cell phone's ability over my esteemed DSLR.
If my cranium hadn't resumed functioning at least slightly, my stilettos would have RUN a half-marathon to get as far away from the reception as possible. But, I did the next best thing: I allowed the crowd to envelop me until I was elbowed to the corner. Awwhhh, relief. I was so pleased that I managed to only have one lone soul in back of me; everyone else was in front listening to the first few speakers. I did feel bad that I had to walk in front of the lone soul a few times in an attempt to get at least a few shots of the introductory speaker. I think I even had to bend over a bit to get just the right angle of the podium. So, I'm sure my "less glorious side" was in her way at times. But such is the job of a photographer--or at least would be the job of a photographer if there had been one in the building.
During this time I quickly texted Ben: "I CAN'T DO THIS!! WHAT WAS I THINKING?? TALK ABOUT HUMBLING."
But God wasn't quite done with our little lesson. After several minutes of sticking my caboose in the lone soul behind me's direction, the woman behind the podium introduces the keynote speaker for the evening--a very influential woman but one I wasn't familiar with (sorry to say). Now, yes, I had just taken her picture, or at least had attempted to. But I was so distraught over my amnesia that I really didn't focus on what she looked like--perceptive, I know. Guess who the lone soul was behind me. Yes, indeed. The featured speaker.
That's what I call heinie humility.
Now, God is gracious :) He gave me time to find my cerebral matter while the keynote was giving her speech--which, by the way, was on how we as women often don't have the confidence to step out and do a job until someone asks and persuades us to try...appropriate for me tonight :) --and I managed to once again understand how to operate my prized possession. The rest of the night did go much better, and I was able to get some shots that hopeful will be sufficient. I met some very kind and warm people--stilettos and all.
If my pics were less than acceptable, perhaps my photography "career" will die the same night it was born.
And if it doesn't, I just want to follow God and glorify Him with it. I also hope my friend stays my friend after my humiliation :) AND, and I really am thankful to her for this opportunity. It was a growth experience (both for my every-growing social skills and for my much-left-to-be-desired photography skills), and believe it or not, I would do it again, if she is unconventional enough to ask. Good times. :)
Glad that not every lesson on humility has to involve a panic attack. But they all do have to involve dying to self. Think I might have done a bit of that tonight.
And I'm so glad that God also is teaching me humility with His gentle whispers and kind words via His children. When He teaches, He often gives us the same message from several different sources--His Word, sermons we hear, trusted, godly friends, and so on.
He has spoken to me through His Word from Daniel and his service to King Nebuchadnezzar. The end of Daniel 3 and the beginning of Daniel 4 discuss how the king was humbled by God when he (the king), "was living in [his] palace in comfort and prosperity." (4:4) God literally took him out of his comfort zone and into the wilderness to learn humility and to learn to acknowledge the Lord. Also, I love Numbers 12:3, "Now Moses was very humble--more humble than any other person on earth." God was able to use Moses powerfully because he was humble. In contrast, his brother and sister had to learn the hard way to not demand prestige. Miriam was plagued by leprosy that Moses had to ask God to take away from her. I would rather not develop a plague to be taught humility.
Similarly, at youth group last night, our youth pastor talked to the kids about understanding that we are filthy rags saved only by Jesus' blood. And when we realize that we are no better than others, we will have love and compassion for them. We can forgive them as Jesus does us. The key is to truly keep our eyes focused on our Lord. When we focus upward (His kingdom and His righteousness) instead of inward (idolizing ourselves which leads to pride) or outward (idolizing others who will inevitably disappoint us) He will provide all that we need (Matthew 6:33).
Then today, a coworker spoke to me about the same topic, reminding me that all of our works are useless and worthless apart from God. We can't work our way into heaven. It is by His grace that we are saved through faith and by His blood on the cross (Ephesians 2:8). And it is a free gift (Romans 6:23) that we must receive (John 1:12). Salvation is not based on what we do. When we do good, it is only because He enables us to do so. And it is for His glory, not so we will earn a way to Him. Then once we are saved, He enables us, by the Holy Spirit, to produce His fruit so that we can point others to Him.
Finally, another friend sent me Proverbs 22:4. "True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor, and long life."
The funny thing about God is that the more we die to ourselves and as we learn humility, the more we truly live.
If I would have taken pictures without a hitch tonight, I may have come away carrying a load of pride. Instead, I cried away my stress and was able to, in the end, laugh with unbridled life as I recounted my evening. This is not to say that every time we are successful we are prideful. And it's not to say that I usually laugh when I come close to failing. God blesses us so much with success and achieved goals. But sometimes we have to experience heinie humility to remember to cling to the Life that gives true Life.
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